Posts filed under 'Dollhouse'

Hey, These Shows Got Good: Parks and Recreation and Dollhouse

We will stare at you until you watch our show.

We will stare at you until you watch our show.

After Arrested Development and Veronica Mars and Pushing Daisies, there were a few months there where I wasn’t watching some wonderful show with the knowledge in the back of my head that I wouldn’t get as many episodes as I wanted. My TV watching was pretty much divided between the safe but not tired veterans (The Office; 30 Rock; How I Met Your Mother); the equally safe ultra-veterans (Saturday Night Live; The Simpsons); and shows that I didn’t care that much about in the scheme of things anyway (I still haven’t watched the last two or three episodes ever of The Sarah Connor Chronicles — though I maintain that the show’s two seasons tell a cooler story than Terminator 3 or Terminator 4).

Then Parks and Recreation and Dollhouse had to go and get good.

In truth, the upswing for both shows happened during their respective first seasons, last spring. In fact, I wasn’t bashing either show even in their earliest, shakiest days. For both, the disappointment seemed a matter of expectations: Park was an amusing little show in the vein of The Office that seemed like it could’ve been better given the level of talent in front of and behind the camera. Dollhouse is a Joss Whedon Experience, and his previous three shows have such vehement cult followings, some people seemed downright angry that his new one was merely entertaining and sort of cool, rather than something to cry over and make retarded Livejournal icons about. Still, there was no disputing that both shows came up a little short of their potential at first.

By the end of their first seasons, though, both Parks and Dollhouse appeared to reach some sort of creative epiphany. The Parks season finale, “Rock Show,” in which the Pawnee Parks Department goes out to see Andy (Chris Pratt) and his band (name constantly in flux), showed the ensemble really coming together, and delivered some of the show’s biggest laughs. Dollhouse did sort of kick into gear, as its creators kept promising, with its mid-season episode “Man on the Street,” with Patton Oswalt as a mourning client interrogated by crusading FBI agent Ballard (Tahmoh Penikett), but saved its best for even later, as the last two aired episodes of the season cooked with tension and humor and trippy sci-fi ideas, and the DVD-premiere postscript, “Epitaph One,” set a bunch of years in the future, was easily one of the best hours of sci-fi on TV this year. Both shows got the nod for a second year despite their middling-to-poor ratings.

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5 comments October 15th, 2009

Midseason Winners and Losers

By now, pretty much all of the networks have debuted their big midseason shows. We’ve all had the chance to weigh in and judge. So, how’d everybody do?

So-so. I went to the Mother of All TV Review Aggregators (Metacritic.com) and looked at the scores for the recent premieres. Most things scored in the C- and D-range, with a couple of big failures thrown in for good measure.

After the jump, I list the shows in order from best-reviewed to worst, find a good quote from a reviewer to gave the show the same rating as its average, and (of course) weigh in about whether or not I think the aggregated score is fair.

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7 comments April 23rd, 2009


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